Whether you’re going river tubing in Laos or full moon partying in Thailand, it’s important to know exactly what to pack for your South East Asian Adventure. As most BUCKiTDREAMERs head to this idyllic part of the world for months at a time, it can be easy to find yourself weighed down with an overpacked bag that’s even more jammed with items than your teeming BUCKiTDREAM planner.
Avoid a headache – and backache – and stick to the below essentials to fill your luggage. Grab your trustiest backpack BUCKiTDREAMER, we’re about to start packing for your Southeast Asian adventure!
Pack Your Clothes Accordingly When it comes to packing clothes, keep it light and only bring what you really need. Laundromats are commonplace and incredibly cheap in most of Southeast Asia so bring a few good, comfy recyclable outfits with you. Never bring more than one pair of jeans. They’re bulky and heavy and will take forever to dry if you get them wet. We advise bringing 4 t-shirts or tanks, 3 pairs of shorts/loose pants plus a few dresses for the ladies. Remember, some areas of South East Asia can be quite conservative, so err on the side of caution when packing your outfits.
Bring Some Good Shoes In some areas of Southeast Asia you’ll be taking off your shoes a lot – not just for entering a temple but also for visiting shops, restaurants and other places of business. Avoid the hassle of untying impractical shoes by packing a comfortable pair of breathable slip-on for every day exploring. For more strenuous hiking, pack a sturdy pair of hiking shoes. Stay away from heavy, warm hiking boots and opt instead for a good pair of waterproof trail sneakers.
Remember the Rain Jacket Even outside of the rainy season (May – October), you can still be caught up in an unholy downpour in SE Asia. For this reason, it’s important to bring an emergency rain jacket with you to keep dry, should the undesirable happen. Try to get your hands on a jacket with zip slits under the arms to keep yourself ventilated.
Grab a Pair of Cheap Sunglasses Come on, you’re gonna lose them so it’s best to keep ‘em cheap! Once they have the proper UV protection, it doesn’t matter how much your sunglasses cost. Pick up a pair in the convenience store before you go and re-stock when they inevitably fall unnoticed from the top of your head.
Resist the Itch with Bug Spray You ain’t nothing but a piece of meat to the hungry mosquitoes in Southeast Asia, so make sure that you pack insect repellent to avoid your body turning into a spotty red mess. It only takes a few seconds to apply and will save you some serious discomfort in the long run.
Slather on the Sunscreen This should be an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by the amount of cherry-colored sunburn victims lounging around the beaches of Ko Samui. Although you can pick up sunscreen when you arrive, it will cost you considerably more, as it’s all imported. The selections are also limited and a lot of places will only stock Nivea and Banana Boat brands, so if you have sensitive skin, you can find yourself in a pickle. Avoid the hassle and pack your own supply.
Take Activated Charcoal and Electrolytes When traveling in a developing country, there’s always the fear of getting a nasty bout of food poisoning. For this reason, we suggest that you pack some activated charcoal in your luggage. When swallowed, these capsules swiftly absorb all the nastiness in your system and put a stop to any tummy troubles that come with them. Pack electrolytes to have for recovery after a bout of illness. One tablet dropped into a bottle of water will replenish the electrolytes that you’ve lost through being sick.
Tuck a Travel Sheet in Your Luggage If you’re a budget BUCKiTDREAMER, you’re going to find yourself staying in some questionable ‘clean’ accommodation while you’re in SE Asia. When you get stuck in a less than a spotless hostel, it’s great to know that you won’t have to sleep on grimy bed sheets and can instead grab 40 winks all tucked up in a cozy, clean travel sheet. These also double up as a great blanket to keep you warm on an overzealous air-conditioned bus.
Stay Connected with a Travel Adapter Though a lot of Southeast Asian outlets are the same as those used in the States, you’re bound to find yourself faced with the dreaded European style outlet at some point in your travels. Avoid any tech troubles by packing a universal travel adapter.
Buy a Bottle Although some people do like to pack their own fancy water bottle to keep them hydrated during their trip, there’s no need to splash out on anything too fancy. A simple cheap plastic one is fine and can be picked up for next to nothing in the airport. There’s no need to keep buying new bottles, as you can refill your own one with filtered water in most places for only a few cents.
In addition to the above, you obviously need to pack your passport (duh), travel documents, toiletries, camera and a good book to keep you entertained while traveling. Don’t forget to make sure you’re fully vaccinated before you head off on your trip. Failing to do so could prove to be extremely dangerous. Check out what vaccines you may need here.
Finally, the most important thing that you should bring on your Southeast Asian adventure is to have an open mind, an open heart and an unquenchable thirst for adventure! Need some inspiration on how to fill up your BUCKiTDREAM planner for your trip? Check out our Top Tips for Touring Thailand, 8 of Cambodia’s Best Islands, and 5 Remote Luxury Hideaways in Vietnam.